Court adjourns trial of Usman, Fani-Kayode
A Federal High Court in Lagos has further adjourned the trial of a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode until Dec. 2, over N4.6 billion Money laundering charges.
Usman, Fani-Kayode and Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), and a Company, Jointrust Dimension Ltd are all defendants in the trial.
The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on 17-counts.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail respectively.
EFCC has since opened the case for the prosecution and is still leading witnesses in evidence.
Meanwhile, the trial of the defendants which was earlier scheduled for continuation on Tuesday, has now been moved to Dec. 2.
At the last adjourned date on Oct. 29, EFCC had led Shehu Shuaibu, its third prosecution witness in evidence.
Shuaibu, an investigator with the commission, had narrated to the court, how the sum of N800 million was paid from the Ministry of External Affairs into the account of the fourth defendant, Jointrust Dimension Ltd.
The witness had told the court that investigations revealed that the money was paid into the company’s account on Jan. 16, 2015.
He had told the court that the money came from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), adding that the signatories to the account were one Darbisu and Benjamin.
The witness had told the court that the said signatories were former members of staff of the ministry, but were currently working with the National Intelligence Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Under cross examination by defence, the witness had told the court that the author of the entries in Exhibit eight was the MEA.
When asked if any of the defendants had any input in the said entries, the witness replied; “No. they do not”.
When quizzed further to confirm if there existed in the said exhibit, words like Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Foreign. Affairs, the witness said “No”, but explained that the words were abbreviated to read MEA and MFA.
The witness had also told the court that he had no knowledge if any of the defendants were employees of any Investigation Agency of Government.
In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, they were alleged to have unlawfully used more than N970 million, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.
Meanwhile in counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.
All offences contravene the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.